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Some Frequently Asked Questions
My relationship with my partner is over. I know we have to be separated for a while before we can get divorced – do I need a separation agreement?
No you do not need a separation agreement.
You should carefully record the date on which you separated and the circumstances surrounding your separation.
If you moved out of your home and at the time advised your partner that the marriage was over, the circumstances around your separation are clear.
However, if you remained residing in the same home for a period after you regard the marriage was over, you should make a note of what occurred during that period.
For example, you and your partner may have had a discussion in which you made it very clear that you regarded the relationship as over and that your marriage had broken down and that it was on that day that you moved in separate bedrooms, started socializing separately to your spouse, cooked for yourself, did your own washing and the like.
My partner and I are separated and we have agreed between us how we will divide up our property. Do we need to see a lawyer?
Unless you document the agreement between you and your spouse in a legally enforceable manner, one or both of you could at a later time seek a further property division from the other.
Do I have to be divorced to finalize all the other issues between me and my partner? I don't want to wait to separate our finances but can I do that now?
You do not need to be divorced to finalise issues between you and your spouse – you can resolve issues of parenting, child support and property settlement at any time. You should document those agreements through your solicitor to ensure that they are final and enforceable.
My partner is not helping me at all towards the expenses for our children who live most of the time with me. What do I do to get my partner to help me pay for these things?
If your partner voluntarily will not assist you financially meet the childrens expenses you should contact the Child Support Agency and make an application to the Agency for an assessment of child support.
You should visit the website of the Child Support Agency which you will find on our useful links page.
My partner and I can't agree on the time our children will spend with each of us – how can I solve this?
You should seek assistance through available mediation facilities.
Relationship centres have been established providing such assistance at either no or little cost to you.
Alternatively, private mediators can assist you in this process and we are able to refer you to such experts. In most circumstances it is essential that you obtain assistance from an accredited mediator in resolving these issues before you are able to make application to a Court in relation to parenting matters.
My partner won't stop harassing me and intimidating me. What can I do to stop this?
There are avenues available to you including obtaining an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order with the assistance of the police and the State Courts.
Alternatively, pursuant to the Family Law Act it is possible in appropriate circumstances to obtain orders restraining your former partner from such conduct.
My partner and I have separated after 20 years. We never got married – do I have legal rights to get a property settlement and where do I go?
You do have legal rights however, those rights vary depending on when you separated from each other and the circumstances surrounding the arrangements whereby you lived together.
You should seek legal advice in relation to these rights promptly because limitations exist as to the time you are able to approach a Court for a property settlement.
My relationship with my new partner has developed to the extent we would like to move in together. We have each been divorced before and never want to go through a property dispute again. Can we do anything to protect the property we each have if things go wrong?
You and your partner can enter into a Binding Financial Agreement that provides for what will occur in relation to your property in the event your relationship broke down.
It is imperative this document is drafted correctly and in accordance with the law or else it will not be binding.
My partner and I are divorced; however, we still have not divided the property we own together. Are there any time constraints I should know about?
Yes there is.
You must finalise property settlement between you and your partner within 12 months of a decree absolute of divorce otherwise, you lose your right to seek a property settlement without first obtaining the leave of the Court.
I have separated and divorced – what about my Will – is it still okay?
Your Will remains valid even though you have separated and divorced.
Given the changes in your life however, your Will is probably out of date.
You should revisit the terms of your Will and if it is no longer appropriate you should have a solicitor draw a new Will as soon as possible.
How do you charge for the work you do for me?
We will provide you with a retainer agreement to consider which sets out the method by which we charge our fees for the advice that we give and the work that we undertake on your behalf.
Some of the work that we undertake for you is charged at an hourly rate and the rate differs depending on the experience of the solicitor who undertakes your work or whether it is completed by an administrative assistant.
Other work is undertaken for you on the basis that we will charge a set fee. For example if we draft a document for you we charge you a rate per page for the drafting and engrossing of the document.
Some lawyers do not charge a fee for your initial consultation. We do charge a fee for this consultation because we will provide you with invaluable detailed advice in the course of that meeting.